Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Praise for Recent Themes in the History of Africa and the Atlantic World

Randall Stephens

In 1963, writes
Sandra Amponsah in the African Studies Quarterly, Hugh Trevor-Roper thought African history had little to recommend it as a field. “Perhaps in the future there will be some African history to teach," he sniffed. "But at present there is none, or very little: there is only the history of Europe in Africa." Amponsah writes that "Now we can all call ourselves Africanists or Atlanticists, or so it appears, as the history of Africa and Atlantic world have become the subjects of interest among scholars of the Caribbean, North and South America, Africa, and Western Europe." Recent Themes in the History of Africa and the Atlantic World, edited by Donald A. Yerxa, shows just how far things have come since Trevor-Roper overlooked a continent.

Amponsah calls the essays in Recent Themes "thoroughly researched" and "presented in a lively argument and counter-argument" style. The collection contains the work of "outstanding African, Atlantic, and world historians," and the entries touch "on several issues that contribute to a better understanding of Africa’s elusive past." Recent Themes in the History of Africa and the Atlantic World pulls together articles and forums that have appeared in Historically Speaking over the years:

“Beyond Blacks, Bondage, and Blame: Why a Multi-Centric World History Needs Africa: A Forum"
Joseph C. Miller

“The Way of Africa, ‘The Way I Am,’ and the Hermeneutic Circle”
Ricardo Duchesne

“Africa in World History and Historiography”
Patrick Manning

“Comment on Miller”
William H. McNeill

“Finding Africa in World History”
David Northrup

“The Borders of African and World History”
Jonathan T. Reynolds

“What Are World Histories?”
Michael Salman

“Another World”
Ajay Skaria

“Africa in a Multi-Centric World History: Beyond Witches and Warlords”
John K. Thornton

“Multi-Centrism in History: How and Why Perspectives Matter”
Joseph C. Miller

“African Encounters”
David Northrup

“Only Connect: The Rise and Rise (and Fall?) of Atlantic History”
Trevor Burnard

“Does Equiano Still Matter? A Forum”
Vincent Carretta

“Construction of Identity, Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa?”
Paul E. Lovejoy

“Goodbye, Equiano, the African”
Trevor Burnard

“Beyond Equiano”
Jon Sensbach

“Response to Lovejoy, Burnard, and Sensbach”
Vincent Carretta

Amponsah concludes her review by acknowledging, that "Although originally intended as a course companion for students of African and African Diasporic history, world history, and Atlantic history, this book will undoubtedly appeal to the intellectual response of scholars in various academic areas, particularly those interested in race and identity formation. It also holds a real treasure in historical analysis by providing in a single volume not only arguments and counter-arguments, but also opportunity for the proponents of the arguments to respond to the counter-arguments."

See other published and forthcoming titles in the Historians in Conversation series:

1 comment:

Chris Beneke said...

Congratulations, Don. Well done!